Isolation is a prevalent problem. One can be surrounded by people and feel alone. If the individual is the measure of all things, then separation, loneliness, and discouragement are the by-products. Noise and busyness are cheap imitations created to give us the illusion of community. Many culprits contribute as to why we have a lack of unity, togetherness, and cooperation: careers, extra-curricular activity for children, working more than one job, financial difficulties, and technology, to name just a very few of the reasons often offered by social observers. Rather than looking at this from a societal perspective, I would like to ask: what am I doing to create a sense of community in my life? Do I contribute to a culture of isolation and loneliness, or am I a part of the solution? As a person of faith, I would like to share a few Bible verses that speak of the power and purpose of the truth that we are all better when we are together?
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2) Burdens get heavy, and everyone has hardships. You cannot live a burden-free life. Who better to help us carry our problems than people who have experienced difficulties? Burden lifters are needed right now, where you live! I have discovered that it makes my burdens feel somewhat less cumbersome when I come alongside someone else and help lift their burden. Always remember that we all carry loads, but it helps both persons when we help others.
“A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” (Proverbs 17:17) In life, some friends are a blessing, but many friends are present when things are easy and fun, those who stay and help us through adversity become like family. Friends and family are essential, and for some of us, there have been friends who crossed the threshold and became family as they helped us weather the storm of trials. This week why don’t you move the step beyond friendship and become like a family member to someone experiencing a deep trial.
Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” There is sharpening and honing of our attitudes, skills, and life overall that happens when we live life together. Peer to peer learning is essential, and we pick up many things by just hanging out with other people. Conversations lead to new insights and have an inspirational quality. It does not need to be in a learning environment, only the school of common interests and friendships. Some of the greatest moments of learning have happened for me by listening to a story told by a friend.
Matthew 18:20: “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Jesus gave us this promise. Jesus is with me at all times, He is with me as I am driving, reading, praying, and going through the activities of my day. Yet, some of the most significant times with Jesus for me have been in the midst of the worshipping community of believers. When people gather to worship the risen Savior, Jesus promises to be right there uniquely and powerfully. I can testify to the fact that I have had encounters with Him as I was surrounded by my brothers and sister in the faith. Christ is in the middle of our meetings together!
Romans 12:9-12 “9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
Paul tells us that love, devotion, and honor are learned and practiced by living in a community. We can say how much we love other people. Love is proven sincere when it is exhibited in real-world, real-life situations. Christians are admonished to be devoted to each other. In essence to put others before ourselves. This is an impossibility if you decide to travel through life solo.
There are many, many other verses I could have included, indicating that our faith is proved by living the spirit-filled life in the world of relationships. I will close with the statement from Paul in Romans 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer. None of us can do this in our strength, it can only be done by the power of the Holy Spirit.